Who was `Abdu'l-Bahá, and why did He come to the West?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 12, 1913 The End of the Western Sojourn

Oh--is it true? Have we reached the end of His western sojourn?  Of course, He doesn't return to Haifa until December 5, 1913--a full year since departing from America.  I am strangely affected and unaffected at the same time--since He is always present with us, transcending either coming or going.

Earl Redman writes: 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His party left the hotel [in Paris] at 8 o’clock in the morning of 12 June for the train station. After some final words to His followers, urging them to be united, He departed for Marseilles. Twelve hours later He reached the city, then left the following morning at 9 a.m. aboard the steamer Himalaya, bound for Egypt.

Where is Mahmúd's volume 2 when we need it? Oh, for more details. What were His final words?

Since I did not cover the first European journey in this blog, I will put an earlier story here, in the absence of details re. this departure from Paris.

Earl Redman writes: 
Two days before ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Paris, a woman came anxiously into a gathering at the Avenue de Camöens. Breathlessly, the woman said:

Oh, how glad I am to be in time! I must tell you the amazing reason of my hurried journey from America. One day, my little girl astonished me by saying: ‘Mummy, if dear Lord Jesus was in the world now, what would you do?’ ‘Darling baby, I would feel like getting on to the first train and going to Him as fast as I could’. ‘Well, Mummy, He is in the world’. I felt a sudden great awe come over me as my tiny one spoke. ‘What do you mean, my precious? How do you know’, I said. ‘He told me Himself, so of course He is in the world’. Full of wonder, I thought: Is this a sacred message which is being given to me out of the mouth of my babe? And I prayed that it might be made clear to me.
      The next day she said, insistently and as though she could not understand: ‘Mummy darlin’, why isn’t you gone to see Lord Jesus? He’s told me two times that He is really here, in the world’. ‘Tiny love, Mummy doesn’t know where He is, how could she find Him?’
      ‘We see, Mummy, we see’.
      I was naturally perturbed. The same afternoon, being out for a walk with my child, she suddenly stood still and cried out, ‘There He is! There He is!’ She was trembling with excitement and pointed at the window of a magazine store where there was a picture of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. I bought the paper, found this address, caught a boat the same night, and here I am. [i]

On 1 December, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said goodbye to Europe:

I bid a loving farewell to the people of France and England. I am very much pleased with them. I counsel them that they may day by day strengthen the bond of love and amity to this end – that they may become the sympathetic embodiment of one nation – that they may extend themselves to a universal Brotherhood to guard and protect the interests of all the nations of the East – that they may unfurl the Divine Banner of justice – that they may realize and treat each nation as a family composed of the individual children of God and may know that before the sight of God the rights of all are equal . . .
      Beware! Beware! Lest ye offend any heart.
      Beware! Beware! Lest ye hurt any soul.
      Beware! Beware! Lest ye deal unkindly toward any person.
      Beware! Beware! Lest ye be the cause of hopelessness to any creature.[ii]

[i] ibid. p. 185.
[ii] Star of the West, vol. II, no. 16 (31 December 1911), p. 6.

So now we are at the departure of 1913--and He will never again be in Europe or North America--except that, of course, He is always here--and everywhere. 

What a blessing it has been to recount the Travels of One who remains a Mystery, eternally. And to grow just a wee bit closer to Him.  

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